Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My words say nothing

I'm pretty torn up about Prop 8, but I keep trying to remind myself that it passed by a far narrower margin than similar initiatives in 2000. That's a sign of progress, however dim.

That said, everyone has been writing about Prop 8 today, which is heartening in its own way. Now that we've elected Barack Obama, we need to turn our focus to LGBTQ rights. That's the next civil rights battle of the 21st century.

And since I can't quite muster up the energy to say more than that, I'd like to share some words of anger, wisdom, and hope from some others around the blogosphere. My own words today just aren't enough:


From Brianna's post, here at Fourth Wave:
The effects from this will last far, far longer than almost anything else in this election. It's just incredibly depressing. I still can't believe it passed - in fact, my conservative parents were surprised it passed! The message is clear. If California can't defeat a marriage amendment, nobody can. I'm guessing Massachusetts and Connecticut will both pass amendments as soon as they can.

From Cara over at The Curvature:
California voters didn’t just cast their ballots to deny rights to their fellow citizens. That would have been bad enough. California voters cast ballots to take rights away.

I don’t understand how this could have happened. How can you vote to revoke the rights that people already have? How could you do it in such large numbers? How could it happen in California, of all places? And with hindsight being twenty-twenty, I’m kicking myself. What the hell was I doing phone-banking for Obama? The man won by a monumental landslide. Why didn’t I give my time to Prop 8 instead? Why was I so wrongly comfortable? How did we let them win?

From Bill Browning at The Bilerco Project:
The LGBT community supported the Democratic ticket. We supported change and hope and equality. We supported our fellow Americans as we reached for the stars. And we won. Today is the day.

But I'm not joyful; I feel robbed. Americans didn't support the LGBT community. Instead, we've been slapped back into place with marriage amendments in Florida and Arizona and an anti-gay adoption law in Arkansas. The ultimate insult, the California marriage amendment to strip LGBT couples of their right to marry, looks poised to pass even though opponents rattle lawsuit sabers and refuse to concede until all absentee and provisional ballots are counted.

I don't feel hope; I feel despair.

From Thomas at Feministe:
Today is a day of both triumphs and disasters. When we went to bed last night, We were not saved, if maybe a little more than We had been the day before. And this morning We are more broken than We were when We went to bed. But today as yesterday, We fail, and We fall short, and We do the wrong thing, and our country is broken. So I’m not celebrating. And that the ways We fail often benefit me personally isn’t a comfort — it’s a rebuke of my complicity. Every day I benefit from it I cheat people who’ve never wronged me; who I’ve never met.


From Lesbiatopia:
For the first time, in a victory speech, a President included ME, as a gay person, in his remarks. [...] He didn't trip over the word GAY. It didn't sound dirty. Or Shameful. It it belonged. [...]

However, thousands of people who are this morning patting themselves on the back because they helped elect the first African American president, also voted to write discrimination against gays and lesbians into the Constitution.

The irony is painful.

How can we travel so far forward AND backward in the same night?

From lindabeth at don't ya wish your girlfriend was smart like me:
Even more, just like there is so “natural” definition and understanding of marriage–that it is a human construction that can be defined differently, the way we have organized societal obligations along the lines of marriage is also a construction, and so can be constructed differently. That we take the married family to be the social unit upon which our social assumptions are made is something that needs it change; it does not reflect the interests and realities of many Americans’ lives and their desired choices today. We have to stop foreclosing ways to organize one’s economic, reproductive, and sexual needs, as well as the way we wish to form relationships commitment other than heterosexual marriage. Just like heterosexual marriage is not what is always has been defined as, social organization does not have to be what it always has been. We can be creative in the way we organize our lives to meet our needs, if we can only decenter marriage as the central, normative, ideal set of living arrangements.

From Bo Shuff, also at The Bilerco Project:
No community has had their rights recognized simply by asking for them. We must get to work. [...]

Our work starts today anew. We are the agents of the change we demand from the people we put into office. WE, as a community must being the lobbying process and grass-roots work needed to ensure that the laws and policies of our government move further toward Equality.

Write or call the campaign office of any new Member of Congress, Senator and President Obama and remind them of what we did. Every donation you made and any hour you volunteered should be fresh in their heads as they move toward Washington and take their oath of office.


From PortlyDyke at Shakesville:
When I was 17, the thought of being accepted as a queer in my family, or in society at large -- the idea of being "out" at a job -- any job (except maybe a gay-bar) -- simply did not exist.

At the time, I was pissed about this at some level -- but it was a vague, subconscious kind of anger -- and I would never have expected it to be addressed in the media or a topic of conversation outside of the secretive community that I inhabited as a queer.

Now, at 52, I'm pissed again -- but this time, my anger is out in the open.

That may be bitter cause for Hope -- but it is, for me, Hope, nonetheless.

And last, but not least, from Queers United:
We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual, and straight allies. We must be united and not divided in our fight for true equality for all sexual and gender minorities. We have our differences, but our passions are the same. We want to live our lives as who are, with whom we want, and the way we want. We want protections for our families. That is our vision that is our hope, please don't give up. We never thought we would see the day when an African-American man becomes president. Now we know we will see the day for a brighter America, where the rainbow will shine and one day LGBT people too will rise above the bigotry and hatred that the majority has bestowed upon us.

Updated to add: Feminist Law Professors just posted this update about Proposition 8 litigation. It's a good sign, but doesn't change the fact that half of California is opposed to equal marriage rights for LGBTQ people.

No comments: